Looking for white hat backlinks?
You came to the right post.
Link building and outreach is still the backbone of SEO – without high-quality backlinks, there won’t be organic traffic. To help you out we collected 42 techniques to generate white hat backlinks that still work in 2021.
Quality over quantity.
A futile effort or your best return on investment is what you make out of link building. It’s is not black or white.
For every tactic you tell me is good, I can show you how it could be bad. For every tactic you tell me is wrong, I can find a scenario where it could be right.
– Eric Ward, author of the “Ultimate Guide to Link Building”
With the rise of organic tactics and holistic SEO, more and more marketers will focus on creating meaningful connections. More SEOs will steer away from shameless promotion and focus on helping people be smarter, happier, richer.
This post contains 42, no-BS evergreen link building tactics that still work in 2021, and guaranteed to get you white hat backlinks. Because why fixing something that already works?
As simple as they are, you still have to make them actually work by applying some common sense:
- Be relevant. Focus on opportunities that are more targeted, rather than using the spray and pray approach.
- Create a connection with your prospects. Don’t drop the bomb before you even had said “hi”.
- Don’t promote – serve. Respect is key.
- Kill them with kindness when you get rejected. Because you will get rejected. Especially if you’re just starting out with link building.
This post should act as a quick reference for the best ways to get white hat backlinks. Brainstorm with them, jot down the tactics you like and get to work.
Let’s cut to the chase.
- 1. Internal Linking
- 2. Friendly Blogrolls
- 3. Ask for Credit
- 4. Ask Your Suppliers and Distributors
- 5. Create Message Board Signatures
- 6. Resource Pages
- 7. Directories
- 8. Paid Directories
- 9. Web Design Galleries
- 10. Startup Directories
- 11. Claim your Brand Mentions
- 12. Spy on Competitors and get their Backlinks
- 13. Convert Unhappy Customers Into Avid Brand Proponents
- 14. Do a Google Reverse Image Search for Your Images
- 15. The Rebranding link opportunity method
- 16. Incorporate Tweet this in your blogposts
- 17. Make Sure Your White Hat Backlinks Point to the Proper Page
- 18. Participate in Round-ups
- 19. Create Round-ups
- 20. Create video tutorials and share them on forums
- 21. Guest Blogging
- 22. Offer Content Upgrades
- 23. Write Testimonials
- 24. Write Case Studies
- 25. Comment on Blogs
- 26. Participate in Communities
- 27. Answer Questions
- 28. Inbound Link-building
- 29. Mention Influencers in Your Content
- 30. Create a Free Tool
- 31. User-Generated Content
- 32. Surveys
- 33. Funny Products and Games
- 34. Seasonable or Timed Content
- 35. Promotions and Giveaways
- 36. Contests
- 37. Finding broken links
- 38. Offer a Pro-bono Service
- 39. The Poster Boy Method
- 40. Create your own private blog networks
- 41. Maintain accounts on Reddit
- 42. Building links from Wikipedia
- 43. Collaboration link-building
The Low Hanging Fruits
These strategies will help you to get white hat backlinks faster than getting a dog out for a walk. No reason not to use them.
1. Internal Linking
Yes, that’s right. Internal linking is something most people overlook, but internal linking is big. First internal links is something you have complete control of. Not only internal links help you transfer link juice between your pages, they also help Google crawl your site faster.
The first thing to do is look at all the relevant internal links to add to your pages right away with a tool like LinkStorm. This will already give a boost to your ranking.
Note: Be careful with using targeted keywords in your site-wide links, as Google might treat this as a spam factor.
- MOZ’s on Internal links
- Internal Linking for SEO: Examples and Best practices
- The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking that Will Improve Content Marketing SEO
2. Friendly Blogrolls
Ask your friends, employees, and colleagues to put a link in their “Friends” blogroll section.
Note: Blogroll Etiquette It’s an unwritten rule in the blogosphere that if a blogger puts a link to your site in his blogroll, you should add that blog’s link on your own site.
3. Ask for Credit
Whether you run an SEO agency, or you’re a freelancer, you should ask for credit from your clients or partners.
For example, at WooGuru, we ask our clients if it’s OK to put “WooCommerce support by WooGuru” in the footer of their website.
The best time to ask for this link is when a client is at his peak of happiness. Also, make it easy for them. Put the link on their site yourself or provide an embeddable HTML snippet with the link.
4. Ask Your Suppliers and Distributors
If you’re buying products or services from someone, ask them to link to your site. Since you’re already paying them (although not for the link itself) your suppliers tend to be much more likely to link back to you, as they want to see you succeed.
5. Create Message Board Signatures
Include a link to the site in your forum signature.
Although mostly “no-follow”, these links can bring decent traffic to a site, and also, help you keep up with your natural link profile.
Directories and Resources
6. Resource Pages
Another old-school easy way to get links. Just use Google search parameters like:
- “keyword” + list,
- Try this – “keyword” + resources,
- “keyword” + tips,
- “keyword” + links,
- This is great as well – “keyword” + inurl: links.
Depending on the vertical of your business, you should find at least a dozen solid link opportunities.
More on the topic:
Submit your site to niche-specific directories, blogger directories like AllTop or local business directories like GoldenPages.
Be very careful with general web directories, as some of them are ridden with low-profile links and you don’t want to associate your site with them.
An easy way to track if a directory is fine is by using the Moz Spam Score.
- The Ultimate List: 50 Online Local Business Directories
- 131+ Manually Verified Free Blog Directories To Submit Your Blog
8. Paid Directories
Some premium directories that will ask you to pay to list your site on their site. The problem with them is it’s hard to distinguish which ones are worth the money.
- What are the best-paid directories today?
- Matt Cutts Explains How Google Handles Paid Directories [Video]
9. Web Design Galleries
This type of directories deserves a place on their own because you can get some pretty serious traffic from them. This tactic works best if you have a unique, innovative design.
Use a service like CSS Gallery list to get your site submitted to all web design galleries for 50 bucks.
10. Startup Directories
There’s a number of startup-related directories that let you create your company profile. To name a few: Angel List, Crunchbase, and BetaList (if your startup is still in pre-launch stage).
Take Advantage of Existing Opportunities
There are some hacks to score white hat backlinks that are just waiting to be taken.
11. Claim your Brand Mentions
Use a service like Mention or Buzzsumo to track your brand name mentions. Make sure that your brand name links back to your site.
More on the topic:
- The Panda Patent: Brand Mentions Are the Future of Link Building
- Implied Links, Brand Mentions And The Future Of SEO Link Building
If your competition is a spot higher on the SERPs than you, they must be doing something right with their link building.
You can use Linkody to find all your competitor’s backlinks. All you need to know is their websites and Linkody will do the rest.
- Find your competitors on Google or with SimilarWeb.
- Add them to Linkody.
- Linkody will find all your competitors’ backlinks.
- Reach out to the webmaster and say your tool would be a great addition to the site’s resources.
Read the full guide on how to analyze your competitors’ backlinks and find great link building opportunities.
You can also use SemRush as a way to spy on backlinks – it allows you to get inbound link data for any website: the number of backlinks, new & lost links, their type, referring domains, and more.
13. Convert Unhappy Customers Into Avid Brand Proponents
Chances are there will be some negative comments, reviews or articles about your brand. Do your best to convert their negative voice into a positive one – offer them an exclusive discount, help them sort their problem, just give a crap.
- 5 Ways to Turn Your Unhappy Customer into a Valuable Resource
- How to Talk to Your Angriest Customers
14. Do a Google Reverse Image Search for Your Images
Chances are someone is using your images if you have useful graphics or beautiful photography on your site. We live in the free Internet.. duh!
Make sure to take a breath before you go all mad about it and think if you could use that as to claim a link to your site.
Most brands often change their names. Brian Dean has a great technique which he calls the Moving Man method to find link opportunities through this.
It’s different from the broken link building method in that the links actually exist. They just re-direct to the new URL. However, since the anchor text and the site link points to the old domain, there’s an opportunity.
Brian was able to achieve this with outdated BlueGlass links (an SEO agency) that went out of business. He reached out to all the site owners who had a link to BlueGlass with this mail.
In order to discover such opportunities, you can search PR channels and search on Google about re brands. All such news results in your industry can get you links.
16. Incorporate Tweet this in your blogposts
Often times we can inspire people to take action by asking them to specifically tweet a portion or nuggets of your post. These tweets can drive more tweets because the words are emotionally charged or contain something very important or interesting.
They can drive social shares and mass links.
Use Linkody to track if all your white hat backlinks are properly linking to the right page. If you have a link to 404 page there are 2 ways to approach the case, depending on the situation:
- Inform the site owner and re-purpose that link to a new page/ask them to correct the mistake in the URL.
- Use a redirection (301) to another page on your site.
These link-building tactics involve creating content to get a link.
18. Participate in Round-ups
Thought leaders, experts, and influencers roundups are an excellent way to build credibility in your field and get a link. Of course, you must know a thing or two about your niche to get featured in them.
The important thing to note is that once you participate in a few roundups, blog authors will start approaching you instead of you having to go to them. Almost every blogger wants to write a round-up post at some stage in their blog’s life, and the easiest targets are usually the people who are already participating in round-ups.
19. Create Round-ups
This tactic works the same way as the previous one, except this time you’re putting together the expert roundup.
Reach out to influencers in your field and ask them to contribute. Everybody wants to look good among other well-respected people. Once you put the round-up live, you can simply ask them to share or link to your post.
More on the topic:
- The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Expert Roundup Post That Gets 1000s of Shares
- Getting 20,231 Views with One EPIC Roundup Post: A Step-by-Step Guide
- The Champion’s Guide to Outreach Marketing” eBook
Most bloggers share their tutorials on forums either wholly or link to them. Linking doesn’t work that often since moderators remove those. Sharing an entire tutorial gives them little incentive to come back to your site.
The thing that I have seen working time and again is sharing video tutorials. Branded with your blog’s name, with an outro slate providing a link back to your blog, these videos work magic in bringing visitors to your site.
Video tutorials are often stuck to the relevant categories and send a nice trickle of traffic long after you’ve stopped promoting.
The additional advantage is that there is no problem sharing an internal forum thread elsewhere on the forum. You can always prop up the thread if it’s relevant to the discussion.
This technique works better and requires more effort than any other forum promotion technique that you might have heard.
For the Internet marketing niche, the best forums for this would be Warrior Forum, Black Hat Forum, etc.
21. Guest Blogging
Pitch bloggers with an idea for a blog post and ask them if they’re happy to publish it.
If you’re just starting out with guest blogging, you will find better luck using one of the guest blogging networks like BloggerLinkUp and MyBlogGuest.com
We usually use NinjaOutreach to send out emails and get contacts to sites where we could have a potential guest post opportunity.
- The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging
- List of Guest Blogging Sites (180+ best sites)
- The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging
22. Offer Content Upgrades
These tactics involve offering content upgrades like eBooks, reports, infographics, etc. to other sites.
The reason content upgrades work so well is that:
- you can provide something exclusively for the site you’re pitching
- it’s much more scalable than guest posting
Let’s say you wrote a big article on cats health. You can re-package the whole post as an eBook and offer it as an exclusive resource to a relevant site.
23. Write Testimonials
Nothing makes a person happier than seeing his clients using their products. Endorse the products you use and ask them to share your testimonial on their websites.
More on the topic: How to get featured to 750,000 readers (and get your first 250 subscribers)
24. Write Case Studies
This tactic is the same as the previous tip, except you go for more details and write a complete case study, describing how you use the product/service.
25. Comment on Blogs
With blog comments, you can get some no-follow links, which is perfectly fine but you can also find a decent amount of blogs that allow do-follow comments.
- Top Free High PR Dofollow Blog commenting sites list | 2016
- A Massive List of 1,000 “Dofollow” CommentLuv Blogs
- 200+ High PR Dofollow Blog Commenting Sites list | Backlinks 2015
26. Participate in Communities
Niche communities are a great place to bring more traffic to your site and get some links (usually no-follow). These could be everything from subreddits to smaller hubs like GrowthHackers.com for online marketing.
Check out this guide on what you need to know about Reddit and SEO.
27. Answer Questions
Answering questions on Quora and Yahoo Answers not only brings traffic to your site but also helps you build credibility as a thought leader in your business vertical.
- How to Leverage Q&A Sites to Generate Traffic
- How We Answer Quora Questions to Drive Traffic to Our Website
28. Inbound Link-building
StartupStash has over 1426 white hat backlinks from 185 domains:
29. Mention Influencers in Your Content
This is the classic ego-bait tactic. By appealing to the egos of people, they’ll help you increase the exposure of your content.
Egobait still works – just not like it used to, it’s not as effective to simply quote or link to an influencer praising their work; we’ve found that at this point if you want to see results (and leverage influencer marketing) you need to bring them into the conversation before you push publish.
– Nick Eubanks, creator SEO Auv
30. Create a Free Tool
Build a free plugin or browser extension to your main product or service.
A great example is EmailHunter’s Chrome extension:
Not only this could potentially attract white hat backlinks to your site, but your customer retention will increase.
Here’s a wonderful case study how Hubspot with $6k investment in a Free Email Signature Generator made $64 million.
31. User-Generated Content
People want to be the center of attention, and in control of what they’re doing. Create a platform for user-generated content. That could be a simple message board or Spotify’s interactive “year in music” personal music habits review.
Asking people for help could be very beneficial. The way surveys work is:
- Collect a decent amount of answers to your survey.
- Thank them for participating
- Ask them if they’d like to help your research by spreading the word with a link.
33. Funny Products and Games
Everybody loves laughing. And everybody loves making other people laugh. This is a great way to generate a white hat backlinks.
CSS Puns by Saijo George is a great example: 1288 total white hat backlinks from 259 domains.
34. Seasonable or Timed Content
Leverage the power of ego-bait on a massive level: a national celebration or event.
A great example is this infographic about the National Liberation Day, which collected over 3.5K shares in just a few days.
If you have something to give away, this is probably one of the easiest ways to build a white hat backlinks. Although, be careful going overboard with the charity.
Note: Make sure you comply with Google’s “Best practices for bloggers reviewing free products they receive from companies“
35. Promotions and Giveaways
Offer influencers in your field promotions or giveaways in exchange for a product review or feedback.
This works best with products with bigger margins.
Encourage engagement and linking by running contests with prizes. Use software like Gleam or KingSumo to launch your contest.
Helping People Out
Whether you’re helping webmasters by pointing to broken links or you offer your services to someone, there’s a huge opportunity for using reciprocity to build white hat backlinks to your site.
- On Google, you can find relevant sites (or posts) to yours.
- Then search for broken links on the site – this app will do it for free.
- In the end, you offer the site owner to replace the broken links with your post.
There are several free tools that would help you identify the broken links on a site. One of the most hassle-free plugins is Check my Links for Chrome. In the example below the link in red is a broken link.
38. Offer a Pro-bono Service
Whatever you’re doing you can exchange your services for a link:
- web design work
- web dev work – you could do something as small as changing their style a bit or speeding up their site with a couple of WordPress plugins
- marketing and SEO 🙂
- content creation (help a site upgrade or update their content)
- grammar checking (scan a couple of articles and pinpoint the mistakes to the site owner)
39. The Poster Boy Method
The Poster Boy method involves writing a splendid success story that you had with a tool.
Companies are always looking for great testimonials about their own products. Writing about how you achieved success with their tool will immediately make your story the apple of their eye.
You can expect the company to share the article and mention it several times across the press releases and blog posts. They may even interview you for insights.
More link building techniques
40. Create your own private blog networks
If you’re serious about SEO and plan on being in the game for a long time, creating your own blog network is one of the best things you can do for long term success.
And I don’t mean one of those networks like Gawker or Envato that advertises itself on every site. Although they can work very well, too. I mean a truly private network of websites that have nothing to do with each other, aside from being owned by you.
It’s the best way to go for small websites without massive financial backing.
The benefits of a private network are immense:
- You have multiple independent sites and income streams so you don’t suffer if one or a few of them get penalized or de-indexed (temporarily or permanently);
- Create backlinks between the sites whenever you need to rank for any keywords or need to get a new site off the ground fast;
- Get much more control over your SEO, since backlinks become pretty much on-site optimization for you.
I’d say that anyone who is going to be doing Internet Marketing for a long time should at least try to build their own network of small niche blogs.
For further reading check this article.
Note: This is a black hat link building technique and can get your site penalized.
41. Maintain accounts on Reddit
Social media accounts are mostly a long term strategy since they’ll rarely get results in the short term.
Well, not counting successful submissions to Reddit, Hacker News and the like. These sites are worth it most of the time.
I’d recommend you create and maintain (either yourself or through outsourcing/automation) profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest, Hacker News and most importantly, Reddit.
In fact, if you need to choose only one site, I’d recommend Reddit for a few reasons:
- It’s easy to create several accounts there (it’s not against the terms of service);
- You can submit stories on almost any topic and they have a real chance of getting to the front page in the appropriate subreddit (which would give you direct traffic and quite possibly white hat backlinks from other sites);
- And a little known secret – Reddit comments are indexed by Google and Bing.
- Most importantly any links will have the nofollow tag removed automatically if the comment gets any upvotes.
This isn’t something that a lot of people know about.
- Create a free account on Wikipedia.
- Go to WikiGrabber. It’s a free site that shows you missing citations or dead links in Wikipedia entries. Let’s say I have a client in the eCommerce industry who’d be very happy if I get him some quality, high authority links.
I head to WikiGrabber and key in “ecommerce”. In return, I get a list of links that need citations or are dead.
See the example below:
Here’s an example link where Wikipedia is requesting me to add links to the article.
Could anything be better than this? Relevant links from a domain that Google loves.
Joining resources and opportunities with other bloggers and marketers by building links to each other’s sites can really accelerate your link acquisition.
The network of your partners will be different from your own network. By partnering together you can benefit from their networks of connections, and them from yours.
The method involves researching partners in your industry, reaching out to them, and offering to collaborate on link building. Read the complete guide on collaboration link building.
White Hat Backlinks Wrapped Up
Link-building is a never-ending story of new tactics and SEOs outsmarting themselves by finding new opportunities to grab a link. This evergreen list of link building techniques should serve you well as a starting point to generating loads of white hat backlinks.
And don’t forget – it all falls on you to make these tactics work.
Share in the comments what is your favorite #1 evergreen strategy to get white hat backlinks!
Kalo is the co-founder of Encharge.io — a marketing automation tool built for SaaS companies. Kalo helps early and mid-stage product companies to convert more of their free trial users to paying customers with targeted behavior-driven emails. Kalo likes to write about all-thing marketing and is an avid reader in his spare time.